KEEPING OUR EYES ON JESUS
By Rodney W. Francis
These are days when we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ. Regularly in The Gospel Faith Messenger Ministry we are receiving mails from Christians who are struggling in their relationship and walk with Jesus ~ and other people. Many have become hurt and wounded and do not know how to get free of the pain of their circumstances and experiences. Sadly, many of the hurts are through criticisms and rejections from fellow Christians! The Bible warns us that it would not be the easiest way of life when we commit to following Jesus Christ. It even declares: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 ). We must realize that Christianity and following Jesus Christ is a totally different spirit to that which rules out in the world. The more we can learn to function the Holy Spirit way, the more we will be able to walk in the victory which Jesus has purchased for us through His life, death, burial and resurrection. He also sent us the Blessed Holy Spirit so we can have the power of God resident within us (Acts 1:8 ) and enable us to not only face the tactics of the enemy, but to overcome him.
KNOW THE TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD
We have to learn to know the truth that sets us free: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them (every anti-Christ spirit),because He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 ).
Consider these verses: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God Who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ Who died, and furthermore is also risen, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us (and still loves us very much).
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (read Romans Chapter 8 and take some time to meditate upon what is being said here).
When we go through those times of trials, testings and hurtful experiences ~ and we all do ~ it is very important that we learn to forgive quickly, so that unforgiveness does not become a blockage in our own life. Jesus said: “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (see Matthew 18:21-35 ). The sooner we can release the hurts, bitterness, etc. to God ~ and practice forgiveness toward those who have offended us ~ the sooner we will be free of them.
PRESS IN CLOSER TO JESUS!
When these negative things happen to us, we need to learn to allow them to push us closer to Jesus, and not further away from Him. When we press in closer to Him He turns those ‘stumbling-blocks’ into ‘stepping-stones’ that take us into a greater realm of victory with Him than what we have known previously. Whatever you do, do not blame God for your problems. He came to deliver us and to set us free. He can turn our defeats into victories and give us a testimony to share with others of what He has done, and can do. Hallelujah!
DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF
Another matter is to make sure you do not blame yourself for all the negative happenings that come against you. Self-blame and condemnation only defeats you further. If you need to repent, then repent, and leave it all there on God’s altar. Give it to God and then leave it all there with Him. Know that He forgives, cleanses and sets us free. He is working in us in time to prepare us for all eternity. He uses these negative happenings to refine us and make us shine more for Jesus. See the bigger picture. Every great man and woman of God went through hurtful experiences and rejection, etc., but God brought them through and made them great! He can do the same for you and me. Do not doubt His love and total commitment to you!
DO NOT ISOLATE!
Another thing to guard against when going through testing times is to be careful not to isolate ourselves. It is a strong temptation to keep to ourselves rather than continue mixing with other Christians, friends, etc., as we fear we will get hurt again, perhaps even worse than we have experienced before. We need to develop good and strong relationships with others so we can be encouraged, helped, guided, whatever the need may be.
Remember, first and foremost we are called to be followers and disciples of Jesus Christ.
He is our supreme example, and He certainly experienced all kinds of accusations, oppositions, nasty things against Him ~ yet He went through all those things because of His great love and commitment to us.
He demonstrated that we can be overcomers in spite of the opposition and come through those times with a positive testimony of what the Lord has done for us.
CHRISTIANITY IS A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
True Christianity is a love relationship with Jesus. That love relationship causes us to have a commitment that seeks to please Him at all times. He is our first priority. If He is not, then we will never know the power of that love relationship in a daily reality. Jesus demonstrated His great love for us. Now we are called to demonstrate our love for Him. Those who are not born-again by the Holy Spirit can never understand this relationship. It is not about religious rituals, but a personal and real relationship with Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords. Hallelujah! We cannot afford to let the negative happenings of our lives to rob us of this personal love relationship with Jesus.